Pfizer, Allergan to Merge
Pfizer Inc. and Allergan plc have announced that their boards of directors have unanimously approved, and the companies have entered into, a definitive merger agreement under which Pfizer will combine with Allergan in a stock transaction currently valued at $363.63 per Allergan share, for a total enterprise value of approximately $160 billion based on the closing price of Pfizer common stock of $32.18 on Nov. 20, 2015.
Under the terms of the proposed transaction, the businesses of Pfizer and Allergan will be combined under Allergan plc, which will be renamed “Pfizer plc.” Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company is expected to maintain Allergan’s Irish legal domicile. Pfizer plc will have its global operational headquarters in New York and its principal executive offices in Ireland.
According to the companies, Pfizer’s innovative businesses will be significantly enhanced by the addition of a growing revenue stream from Allergan’s durable and innovative flagship brands. The combined company will benefit from a broader innovative portfolio of leading medicines in key categories as well as from a platform for sustainable growth with diversified payer groups.
With the addition of Allergan, Pfizer will enhance its R&D capabilities in both new molecular entities and product line extensions. A combined pipeline of more than 100 mid-to-late-stage programs in development and greater resources to invest in R&D and manufacturing is expected to sustain the growth of the innovative business over the long term. Through product approvals, launches, and inline performance, the combined company aspires to be a leader in growth. The combination of Pfizer and Allergan will significantly increase the scale of Pfizer’s established business, and their complementary capabilities will maximize the combined established portfolio.
As a result of the combination with Allergan and subsequent integration of the two companies, Pfizer now expects to make a decision about a potential separation of the combined company’s innovative and established businesses by no later than the end of 2018.
B+L to Launch Ultra for Presbyopia
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has announced that Bausch + Lomb Ultra contact lenses for Presbyopia will become available during the second quarter of 2016. According to B+L, the new multifocal lens was designed to combine the company’s 3-Zone Progressive design, found in Biotrue Oneday for Presbyopia daily disposable lenses, with the end-of-day comfort of B+L’s MoistureSeal technology.
B+L Ultra lenses contain polyvinylpyrrolidone for enhanced wettability, have a Dk/t of 163, and a modulus of 70. They also have aspheric optics for exceptional vision even in low light conditions.
IACLE Launches 2016 Awards for CL Educators
The 2016 International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards, sponsored by CooperVision, will recognize and reward achievements in contact lens education worldwide.
They will be awarded to three individuals, one from each of IACLE’s three global regions: Asia Pacific, Europe/Africa–Middle East, and Americas. Each winner receives up to $3,000 toward the cost of attending a major international conference during 2016. Choices include NCC 2016 in Veldhoven, The Netherlands; the 10th Asia Cornea & Contact Lens Conference in Hong Kong; or American Academy of Optometry in Anaheim, CA. Award recipients will also have permission to use the title 2016 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year for their region and a certificate to mark the award, to be presented at the event attended.
The awards are open to all IACLE members from any country, with preference given to members who are active FIACLEs (Fellows of IACLE) or have attempted the IACLE Fellowship Exam. The awards will recognize work by those who are established contact lens teachers. Equally, the award may be given in recognition of a useful educational contribution by an associate member, actively involved in IACLE and in contact lens education.
In related news, the IACLE Travel Award is a travel bursary for IACLE Educator members starting out on their career who would not otherwise be able to attend a major international conference. The 2016 IACLE Travel Award is sponsored by IACLE, and the winner will receive up to $3,000 toward the cost of attending one of the aforementioned conferences.
The deadline for entries for the 2016 awards is Dec. 31, 2015. Entries should be submitted by email to IACLE Regional/National Coordinators using the application forms found at www.iacle.org.
AccuLens Launches New Interactive Website
AccuLens Inc. officially launched its new interactive website and corporate look at the beginning of November. According to the company, the new website and branding are more closely aligned with the company’s strategic vision for growth and expansion over the next decade and beyond.
The new site offers a clean, modern design and easy-to-navigate functionality. Features include a virtual troubleshooting fitting guide, an improved online ordering feature, and informational and educational tools and videos.
Attendance Soars at CLMA Meeting
The 54th Annual Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) Meeting and Exhibition, held in Miami on Oct. 29 to 31, drew a 67% increase in attendance over last year. With a theme of “Focus On Excellence,” the meeting hosted representatives from 13 countries. Educational sessions covered many aspects of custom contact lens manufacturing, with a focus on using the latest technology to maximize quality and comfort for patients and cutting-edge design options for practitioners.
The new CLMA board of directors was elected, including: President, Jan Svochak (Tru-Form Optics, Inc.); Vice President, Daren Nygren (Custom Craft Lens Service, Inc.); Secretary/Treasurer, Kurtis Brown (Menicon America, Inc.); and as board members, Ken Leonhard (Quality Contact Lens, Inc.); Josh Adams (Valley Contax, Inc.); Daniel Bell (Corneal Design Corp.); Jeff Birk (Essilor Gas Permeable Contact Lenses); Mike Fischer (Misupco, Inc.); Troy Miller (AccuLens, Inc.); Chris Pantle (DAC International, Inc.); and Keith Parker (Advanced Vision Technologies, Inc. [AVT]).
The following awards were also presented:
• CLMA 2015 Industry Enhancement Award: Daniel L. Bell (Corneal Design Corp.), Daniel J. Manelli (Manelli & Fisher, PLLC), and Troy A. Miller (AccuLens, Inc.)
• CLMA 2015 Honorary Recognition Award: Keith D. Parker (AVT)
• CLMA 2015 Trailblazers Award: Al J. Vaske (Lens Dynamics, Inc.)
• CLMA 2015 Leonardo da Vinci Award: Christopher F. Pantle (DAC International)
• GPLI 2016 Practitioner of the Year: Douglas P. Benoit, OD, FAAO (Eye Center of Concord, NH).
Shire Expands Ophthalmics Team
Shire recently announced that the company is continuing to expand its Ophthalmics team with the appointments of Vic Noble as Head of Marketing; and Debra Schaumberg, OD, and Beth Schultz Scott, OD, as Global Medical Leads in Ophthalmics.
Ms. Noble joined Shire in April 2008. She has served in marketing leadership roles for Shire’s GI and Neuroscience Business Units and, most recently, led consumer marketing strategy for the Ophthalmics Business Unit. In her current role, she will lead all marketing activities related to Shire’s Ophthalmics portfolio, including its investigational candidate for dry eye disease, lifitegrast.
Dr. Schaumberg is an adjunct professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and adjunct professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. In her new role with Shire, Dr. Schaumberg serves as a lead for U.S. and international medical affairs activities for ophthalmics, focusing on professional education and data generation. Dr. Schultz Scott has held leadership positions in regulatory affairs and global medical affairs for healthcare companies focusing on eye care. She was a faculty member at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry as well as founding member of the Hogeschool van Utrecht School of Optometry and Eye Care Clinic in The Netherlands. In her new role with Shire, Dr. Schultz Scott serves as a lead for U.S. and international medical affairs activities for ophthalmics, with an emphasis on lifecycle product management.
GPLI Secures Funding for 2016
In September, two of the largest GP material suppliers terminated their membership in the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA). Because the raw material suppliers who belong to the CLMA return a portion of their sales to fund the educational programs of the GP Lens Institute (GPLI), the departure of these two companies threatened short-term program funding.
Prior to the Annual CLMA meeting, a pre-meeting survey was sent out to CLMA members to gauge opinions on how best to move forward. Results of this survey were discussed in a town hall meeting in which members overwhelmingly expressed a continued commitment to the educational goals of the CLMA and pledged to support the remaining CLMA material suppliers for 2016 at a level consistent with recent years, which will make those goals attainable. Members voted unanimously to increase their collected pass-through amount from raw materials for the upcoming 2016 fiscal year. Additionally, 17 member companies have made pledges of $7,500 each to support the educational efforts of the GPLI.
CLMA President Jan Svochak said that because of the support of member companies of the CLMA, the educational programs are secure for 2016 and beyond. As the educational division of the CLMA, the GPLI has a 30-year history of providing practitioners with educational and practice-building tools and programs focused on custom lens prescribing. The GPLI is responsible for developing and maintaining an extensive library of specialty lens resources, including monthly online webinars, a comprehensive series of interactive fitting tools at www.gpli.info, hands-on specialty lens fitting workshops and CE programs, and a bimonthly newsletter, among other endeavors. Additionally, the GPLI’s Cornea and Contact Lens Residents Program has impacted hundreds of young optometrists with an annual weekend training session and ongoing mentoring from specialty fitters.
Tunable Electronic CL Development Accelerated
E-Vision Smart Optics, Inc. has announced that it is developing the first electronic contact lens (ECL) that will allow the wearer to continuously adjust far, near, and middle-vision customized to the individual’s own needs. E-Vision recently closed a round of financing within its existing shareholder base to fund this development program.
E-Vision’s ECL will have the same look and feel of a traditional flexible contact lens, but will allow the wearer to select pre-set focus ranges to change prescription in as little time as 200ms. Featuring the company’s Smart Focus Optics platform technology, the ECL contains an electric field surrounded by a tiny, near-invisible layer of liquid crystal material (similar to the screen on a laptop or smartphone). When powered with tiny amounts of electricity, uniquely placed electrodes activate the liquid crystal layer, and specific optical focus profiles can be achieved. These profiles can create hyperopic or myopic spherical shapes as well as aspheric shapes. A prototype of the ECL is expected to be available in late 2016.
■ Since partnering with Laboratoire Precilens of Paris earlier this year, Art Optical says that it has enjoyed swift success with Expert Progressive here in the United States and has now expanded the sales territory to Canada. The Expert Progressive design features slab-off GP lens technology, creating a thinner, uniform edge profile 360º around the circumference of the lens, resulting in less lid awareness and improved comfort, according to Art Optical.
■ TruForm Optics, manufacturer of the DigiForm line of scleral lenses, is now recommending these products in Optimum Extra material from Contamac and Tyro-97 material from the Lagado Corporation. The design features laser markings for ease of fitting along with toric, quadrant-specific, and multifocal options. TruForm will continue to offer DigiForm in Boston XO (Bausch + Lomb) at this time.
■ On March 13 and 14, 2016, the sixth Netherlands Contact Lens Congress (NCC) will take place in Veldhoven, The Netherlands. Founded in 2006, this biannual two-day conference is now the biggest contact lens conference on the mainland of Europe, attracting more than 1,500 contact lens practitioners and optometrists. The NCC is focused on the clinical aspects of contact lens wear. Although the vast majority of the attendees are from Dutch-speaking countries, NCC is internationally well represented; 90% of the lectures are presented in English by leading experts from all over the world. This congress will feature a research symposium planned in collaboration with the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) that is designed to maintain the high reputation developed by the BCLA for showcasing world-class clinically relevant research, nurturing new researchers and young academics to present at this level. Visit http://www.ncc2016.com/?lang=en.
■ CLX, a contact lens ordering, managing, and marketing system, introduced enhanced functionality designed to auto email and text patients who are due to reorder contact lenses. My CL Reorder identifies such patients and automatically sends emails or texts, prompting them with a link to reorder their prescription lenses. Credit card payments are deposited in the practice bank account, and the order is forwarded directly to a preferred practice distributor who then ships the refill directly to the patients.
■ NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced a corporate restructuring to focus on the commercialization of its prescription Avenova Lid and Lash Cleanser. NovaBay is also taking steps to reduce operating expenses with the goal of achieving positive cash flow from operations by the end of 2016. NovaBay Chairman Mark M. Sieczkarek has assumed the position of interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately, replacing former president and CEO, NovaBay founder Ron Najafi, PhD. Mr. Sieczkarek has served as a member of the NovaBay board of directors since January 2014, was named chairman in April 2015, and has been instrumental in the development of the go-to-market strategy for Avenova.
■ Jane J. Beeman, COA, FCLSA, was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA) during the CLSA Educational Meeting in Nashville, TN. She has been an active member of the CLSA for more than 20 years, serving two terms on the board of directors. Throughout her career, she has been an active advocate for the contact lens field and is a frequent guest speaker and clinical trainer at leading academic and professional practices around the world. Prior to joining Visionary Eye Associates, she was the director of professional relations at B+L-North American Vision Care and Polymer Technology.
■ Alden Optical has eliminated Divisional Pricing currently associated with the company’s HP and Classic line of custom sphere and toric contact lenses. From this point forward, pricing for any Rx power of these designs will be at the current Division I level. According to the company, divisional pricing is a vestige of another era when there was real difference between high and low Rx lenses in terms of the cost to manufacture.
■ TearScience has announced a 50% price cut, effective immediately, on the single-use activators used with the LipiFlow treatment platform for meibomian gland disease (MGD). The move is just one component of an overall strategy to make the LipiFlow and LipiView technologies more accessible to eyecare professionals, who can then, in turn, use them to evaluate and intervene earlier for the benefit of individuals suffering from MGD.